Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Online Assignment #3, Chris Picazo

The Walt Disney Company is one of the world’s most successful multinational mass media corporations.  It is the leader in the American animation industry and with the many movies the corporation has released, their cartoons have been able to reach millions worldwide.  In the documentary, Mickey Mouse Monopoly, Disney films were looked at to see how a big of an influence the films play in children.  Two perspectives that appear in the documentary are the magic bullet theory and the cultural studies theory.
            The magic bullet theory appears in the documentary in that it only takes ‘one shot’ to influence children or to create a perspective for them.  Alison Wilson from the Neighborhood House Charter School explains that children learned from Disney films that lead female characters are always shown to be in danger.  They are depicted to be in trouble no matter how strong they are, and they need a strong male lead/character to rescue them.  She explains using examples like The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that children at school are always imitating these roles they learned from Disney movies.  Girls will pretend to be in danger by crying or faking a death and boys will come in and pretend to rescue them.  Wilson says that children are being secretly told that men are stronger than women in society and that women need a male to help them in any situation that arises.
            Another view presented from the documentary is the cultural studies perspective.  This perspective shows a culture is depicted or represented in film and sometimes the portrayals in film show negative stereotypes.  Dr. Jack Shaheen, professor of mass communication at Southern Illinois University, explains that in the film Aladdin, the film negatively portrays the Arabic community and disrespects the religion of Islam.  Shaheen uses the scene from the movie in which the princess takes an apple from a merchant and gives it to a hungry little boy on the street.  The merchant becomes angry because the princess has no money and threatens to cut off her hand on the spot.  Shaheen explains that in Islam, people are obliged to feed someone if they are truly hungry and that devout merchants do this too.  In the country Saudi Arabia, it is only after three warnings or convictions to a real thief, not petty a thief, that the hand is cut off as a punishment, but Shaheen says that this represents a very small population of the country.  Aladdin negatively portrays the Arabic community and disrespected many Arab Americans because children are watching the film and thinking this is how people are punished in Saudi Arabia, when this is not true. 

            Overall, Disney has a strong influence over children because it is the leading animation company in America and their films are easily accessible to watch by many.  The films influence children and their views, and sometimes the influence Disney has is negative.  Mickey Mouse Monopoly depicted the different ways it does using the magic bullet theory and cultural studies to explain that Disney has led children to believe that females are not as strong as males and different cultures are more violent than ours.   


  1. Nice job on your analysis! You create a strong argument by using solid specific examples and explaining the implications concerned with these examples. In my analysis, I argued for the same perspectives and use a lot of the same examples. I totally agree with your stance on the prominence of magic bullet theory, and also included how the teacher Alison Wilson talked about how girls play on the playground as the “damsel-in-distress.” I also agree with your point on how cultural studies have played a leading role in Disney movies. I did not use the Aladdin example, but you explain it in full detail and prove how the effects of the movie relate to this perspective. I thought it was very interesting how Disney so negatively represented Arabic culture and Islamic religion, something I don’t believe I would’ve been able to fully pick up on without this documentary. My only constructive criticism about your analysis is that I think you could have used another example of each perspective to even further solidify your already impressive argument. Other then that, excellent job and I enjoyed reading!

  2. Nice work, Chris! Like many of us, I saw the same perspectives shown throughout the documentary and used many of the same supporting examples. I feel that many of us saw these perspectives because they were so fitting, even if others could be pulled out as well. The Magic Bullet one was so strong because of the fact that a child can watch just one Disney movie and be sucked into the idea of it, which then leads them to be almost just as easily brainwashed by it. I also really liked the fact that you went into detail about the Aladdin example, sharing how it relates to the real world. When I heard that, it really shocked me that they could twist something that is so close to a real religion and use it in a cartoon. Overall, your analysis was very well written and you did a great job going into depth with you examples!